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SoundsA Philosophical Theory$
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Casey O'Callaghan

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199215928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215928.001.0001

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What Is a Sound?

What Is a Sound?

Chapter:
(p.13) 2 What Is a Sound?
Source:
Sounds
Author(s):

Casey O'Callaghan (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215928.003.0002

Two theories of sound stem from philosophical and scientific traditions. The philosophical view that counts sounds among sensible or secondary qualities, with colors and tastes, fails because sounds last through time and survive change. Furthermore, the identities of certain sounds are tied to patterns of change through time. Sounds are particular individuals that bear audible qualities, such as pitch, timbre, and loudness, and persist. The scientific view that treats sounds as waves is thus best understood as the view that sounds are event-like, rather than object-like, particulars whose locations in the medium change over time.

Keywords:   secondary qualities, sensible qualities, waves, persistence, events, objects

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